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Teen driver in Ariel Russo death busted again

The teen menace accused of mowing down 4-year-old Ariel Russo while fleeing police has been busted in another getaway attempt in which a cop was drag 100 feet.Franklin Reyes Jr., 18, is facing new charges that shockingly mirror the high-profile hit-and-run just 14 months ago that left the innocent little girl dead and her grandmother severely injured.

Reyes’ arrest Sunday left Ariel’s parents, Sofia and Alan Russo, angry and in disbelief.

“He has no remorse. He’s not sorry. He didn’t change,” an angry Sofia Russo told the Daily News Wednesday. “He killed my daughter. He hurt my mother. And he’s repeated the same action.”

The latest charges being lodged against the defiant Reyes stem from an incident Sunday evening — less than 5 miles from where Ariel was killed while walking to school June 4, 2013.

Sofia and Alan Russo, parents of Ariel RussoJoe Marino/New York Daily News Sofia and Alan Russo, parents of Ariel Russo, talk to the New York Daily News on Wednesday after the girl’s accused killer, Franklin Reyes, was arrested Sunday for driving without a license and dragging a cop 100 feet.

Cops pulled Reyes over at 6 p.m. after he failed to signal for a left turn at W. 181st St. and Amsterdam Ave. in Washington Heights, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday.

When police ordered Reyes to put his car in park, he hit the gas, the complaint reveals.

Officer Edward O’Connell reached inside the car as Reyes sped off. O’Connell, assigned to the 34th Precinct stationhouse, was dragged about 100 feet, according to the complaint.

The cop suffered “contusions to his left wrist and elbow,” the complaint says.

Franklin Reyes, shown Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, is already facing manslaughter charges in the death of Ariel Russo.Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News Franklin Reyes, shown Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, is already facing manslaughter charges in the death of Ariel Russo.

Reyes continued driving and struck another vehicle between Audubon and Amsterdam Aves., authorities said.

He then nearly hit a pedestrian on Audubon Ave. before abandoning the car, the complaint charges. As he tried to run away, he was encountered by police Officer Richard Natal, but he didn’t give up without a fight.

“When I attempted to arrest the defendant, he refused to put his hands behind his back, swung his arms up and down, and kicked his legs,” Natal wrote in a report.

Reyes was charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful fleeing a police officer, reckless driving and unlicensed driving.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJefferson Siegel/New York Daily News
Reyes was arrested again this past weekend when police tried to stop him while driving. He allegedly dragged a police officer 100 feet.
Franklin Reyes in courtJefferson Siegel/New York Daily News
Franklin Reyes Sr., father of the accused hit-run teen driver of the same name,is charged with petit larceny for breaking into an apartment.
Franklin Reyes in courtJefferson Siegel/New York Daily News
Lilia Reyes, the mother of Franklin Reyes, watches as her son is remanded into custody in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday in another driving-related alleged crime.
Franklin Reyes in courtJefferson Siegel/New York Daily News
Franklin Reyes, center, and his lawyer, Martin Schmukler, right, appeared in court Wednesday.
Franklin Reyes in courtJefferson Siegel/New York Daily News
Franklin Reyes appears in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday. He was arrested Sunday when police made a traffic stop and he floored it, dragging an officer 100 feet.
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  • Franklin Reyes in court
  • Franklin Reyes in court
  • Franklin Reyes in court
  • Franklin Reyes in court

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He was ordered held without bail at his arraignment on Monday.

Reyes was expected to be arraigned Wednesday on the new indictment before Justice Gregory Carro — the same judge overseeing his manslaughter case.

Before Reyes’ latest trouble, Carro had considered giving Reyes a legal break, offering him a maximum of four years behind bars and a chance as a youthful offender to have his case eventually sealed.

But Ariel’s parents and their lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein, said Reyes — who is also charged with looting a dead woman’s W. 21st St. apartment with his father in June — doesn’t deserve mercy.

Ariel Russo, a 4-year-old girl walking to school last year with her grandmother, was killed in June 2013 on the Upper West Side.Courtesy Russo Family Ariel Russo, a 4-year-old girl walking to school last year with her grandmother, was killed in June 2013 on the Upper West Side.

“Clearly, he is not entitled to youthful offender treatment and that offer should be revoked. He should stand trial in every case that he has,” Rubenstein said.

“This case should set an example to young people all over the country that if you commit these acts you will go to jail and you will go to jail a long time.”

Sofia and Alan Russo said hearing about Reyes’ arrest left them reliving the nightmare of their daughter’s death.

“I was in denial this morning when I found out,” said Sofia Russo. “I was like, ‘It can’t be. It has to be a mistake.’”

Ariel Russo's mother, Sofia Russo.Joe Marino/New York Daily News
Sofia Russo, Ariel Russo’s mom, talks about her daughter’s accused hit-run killer.
NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpiJoe Marino/New York Daily News
Sofia Russo said she’s had nightmares about her and her son getting hit by a car driven by Franklin Reyes.
  • Ariel Russo's mother, Sofia Russo.
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“I was hurt. I was thinking, ‘If someone does something once and they say they’re sorry and they do the exact same again, they weren’t sorry,” the mother said. “His disregard for life, people, pedestrians, people in the street — there’s no remorse. It’s so dangerous.”

She said her mother, Katia Gutierrez, was permanently disable by Russo’s recklessness and had to give up her job as a patient representative at Roosevelt Hospital.

“It’s so hard, physically, emotionally, financially,” Sofia Russo said. “She was a really hard working woman. She had a strong work ethic. It’s painful for her not to be able to work.”

She found it more than a coincidence that she’s had a recurring nightmare of Reyes running over her 7-year-old son, Jacob.

“I keep having this nightmare over and over that Jacob … and I get hit by a car — and it’s him driving,” Sofia Russo said. “It’s just this terrible nightmare I have over and over. And it’s like it came true — he did something again!”

Alan Russo vowed to continue attending all of Reyes’ court hearings to assure justice is served for his daughter.

“My daughter is in a box and he’s free to do bad things,” the father said. “He took more than just her life — he took my life and my wife’s life.”

With Jefferson Siegel

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